Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Selecting an Entire Section.

Selecting an Entire Section

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 5, 2017)

You probably already know that you can press Ctrl+A to select all the text in an entire document. What if you want to select all the text in a particular section of a document, however? Does Word provide a shortcut to select just a single section?

A section is defined as the portion of a document between the beginning of the document and the first section break, between two consecutive section breaks, or between the final section break and the end of the document. There is no shortcut defined in Word that allows you to select a single section of your document. There are, however, some ways that you can perform the selection or you can create your own shortcut.

One simple way is to follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of your section.
  2. Press F8 to turn on extend mode.
  3. Press F5 to display the Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the left side of the dialog box, choose Section.
  6. Click Next.

The entire section should now be selected and you can do whatever you want to do next. You can also use a variation on these steps, in this manner, provided you are using Word 2007 or Word 2010. (It won't work in later versions of Word because Microsoft removed the Object Browser beginning with Word 2013, and this variation depends on the Object Browser.)

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of your section.
  2. Press F8 to turn on extend mode.
  3. Click the Select Browse Object control. (The small, round ball below the vertical scroll bar, at the bottom-right of your program window.) A palette of available objects appears.
  4. Click the Browse by Section object.

That's it; the section should now be selected. It should be noted that neither of the previous techniques will work properly in selecting the final section of a document or in selecting the entire document if you have only one section in the document.

If you need to select the current selection quite regularly, then you should develop your own shortcut. You can create a macro, and then assign a shortcut key to that macro. The following macro will select the current section:

Sub SelectCurrentSection()
    On Error Resume Next
    Selection.Range.Sections.First.Range.Select
End Sub

The On Error statement at the beginning of the macro is just a quick-and-dirty way of suppressing the error raised if the insertion point is in a header, footer, footnote pane, or any other place where there are no sections defined.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11141) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Selecting an Entire Section.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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